Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Yellow Prickly-Poppy, Prickly Poppy, Birds In The Bush, Mexican Prickly Poppy, Devil's Fig, Flowerin
Argemone mexicana

Family: Papaveraceae (pa-pav-er-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Argemone (AR-ge-mon-ee) (Info)
Species: mexicana (meks-sih-KAY-nuh) (Info)

11 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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2 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Ian01 On Aug 23, 2009, Ian01 from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil wrote:

Beautiful plant, but very prickly (leaves included), difficult to handle, don't tolerate root disturbance. Erratic germination (after 1 year in natural conditions). The plant decays and die after blooming and set seeds.

Positive green_dragon On Aug 31, 2008, green_dragon from Trumbull, CT wrote:

This is a plant that not only produces a large number of seeds but they are easy to sprout as well. The seeds are about twice the size of regular poppy seeds. Scatter these on a flowerbed during the spring, sprouts in a week or two at most. Will become more woody in late season. Collect seed when pod is ripe.
Prefers lighter, sandier soil.
Native to Mexico and Southwest US. May be year round grower there in warm climate.
Plant has medicinal and shamanistic history among Aztec.
Do not eat seeds! They contain 2 toxic alkaloids.
Sanguinarine and Dihydrosanguinarine.
Strictly for flower show.

Neutral lynneus On Feb 29, 2008, lynneus from Muncie, IN wrote:

I found this plant growing along a fence/sidewalk (in gravely soil) on the outskirts of campus at ITESM (Tec) in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The flower is wonderful!

Positive frostweed On Nov 29, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Yellow Prickly-Poppy Argemone mexicana is native to Texas and other States.

Neutral dmj1218 On May 8, 2006, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

A drought tolerant annual with blue-green spiny foliage variegated with white. Leaves provide stark contrast to for large (2-2.5"), fragile, sweetly scented flowers that range in color from lemon yellow to light orange. Sap is bright yellow. Considered half-hardy and likes full sun and well-drained soil. Prickly poppy grows paricularly well in hot climates.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Sunland, California
Hollywood, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Roswell, New Mexico

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